"Modern Family" has been hailed by both critics and fans as one of the best comedies on TV right now.

Did you miss your favorite dysfunctional-but-they-still-love-each-other-at-the-end-of-the-episode family? You better have, because “Modern Family” is back with just as much enthusiasm as last season.

The first episode of the show’s second season aired on ABC at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22, to 12.6 million viewers, a 19 percent increase from last year’s premier. Many critics partially attribute this increase to the show’s epic Emmy win, where, for the first time in more than 20 years, an ABC show won the award for Outstanding Comedy Series.

This season’s premiere started off with a classic Claire vs. Phil power struggle, in which Phil, of course, ultimately loses. Nonetheless, he tries to hold his own, as disaster strikes in the background. This time garage odds and ends fall out of the ceiling while Phil asserts his ability to sell a dilapidated station wagon.

It was one of only three correct ways to start off the premiere, as the seasoned “Modern Family” watcher knows that one-third of the show’s family-oriented chaos will proceed to center around Phil trying to prove some kind of skill to his wife for the rest of the episode.

Anyone who’s reading this and is unfamiliar with the show might wonder why this type of predictability is loveable and worthy of a 19 percent increase in viewers. Well, to you I say that the fun of “Modern Family” is not in figuring out the grand scheme of the plot — that part is pretty superficial. The fun is in watching the characters fall into essentially the same everyday situations you or I would fall into. Therefore, it’s easy to relate to exactly how they will fail or succeed (in the case of Phil it’s just how he will fail). Relatable characters is half of what makes or breaks a show and “Modern Family” has them in force.

Another third of the drama comes from the hilarious antics of Mitchell and Cam, as the couple struggles to build a princess playhouse for their daughter Lily. The humor comes from their juxtaposing struggles. Cam tries to occupy Mitchell with menial tasks to keep the self-proclaimed carpenter from hurting anyone while wielding a staple gun. And Mitchell tries to uphold his carpentry hubris despite getting himself stuck inside the princess playhouse.

Jay had been enlisted for the afternoon to help keep Mitchell at bay, and ultimately delivers what I consider this episode’s prize-winning line. As Jay recounts a previous bad construction experience he had with Mitchell, regarding a bookshelf, he says, “That was my Vietnam. And I was in Vietnam.”

If I stop and think about what actually makes “Modern Family” laugh-out-loud funny —which many, many shows try and fail at — it’s not just the actual script but the impeccable delivery of the lines, complete with the perfect pauses and facial expressions (though it doesn’t hurt that the script itself is inherently funny).

Last but not least, we can’t forget Manny: always precocious, always a mama’s boy. Though I swear to God, if that boy goes through puberty and actually becomes a man while the show is still on, I will stop watching the show.

As usual, Manny’s predicament is acting too old for his age and therefore gaining the disapproval of the girls over whom he fawns. Just wait, little guy, in a few years those girls will be sorry they didn’t accept you and your velour dinner jackets.

For now, however, Manny’s mother Gloria remains the only worthy woman in his life. There were a few close calls in this episode, though, like when Manny announces he’s giving up foods with trans fat because “his girl” won’t eat them either. He also agrees with her that a dash of salt brings out the flavor of chocolate milk in place of his mother’s plain chocolate milk (Is that actually true? Someone remind me to try it).

The show has had the occasional dud episode in its short-but-successful career, but this certainly wasn’t one of them. It comes to a close in a classic “Modern Family” way, with a tender family moment directly following the aforementioned station wagon’s untimely demise and thus Phil’s loss of an unspoken wager to Claire.

After any Wednesday, good, bad or in between, airing every week on ABC for only 30 minutes, this show is the perfect hump day treat that simultaneously allows you to laugh all your troubles away without skirting your homework duties for too long. Welcome back, “Modern Family,” we’ve missed you.

“Modern Family” airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Sklar is a member of the class of 2014.



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